The debate on the TTIP has gained momentum in the European and national legal and political discourse. Nonetheless, a large-scale systematic analysis of its impact on the EU legal order is still missing. This sounds surprising: on the one hand, some major legal ambiguities withstanding the TTIP have emerged during the twelve rounds of talks, which may represent a potential threat to the EU legal order as a whole. They thus require the elaboration of legal and policy tools for overcoming the alleged shortcomings before the conclusion of the agreement and its approval by the EU and its Member States. On the other hand, it is apparent that the negotiations—and their final result—will reshape the EU external action, and the way in which such action will be reflected into the EU legal order.
In sum, the TTIP can be understood as a new ‘model’ for the EU global presence. It follows that its main features and implications for the EU integration process and constitutional identity, as well as for other multilateral international fora, deserve a thorough legal analysis.
The analysis of both the TTIP model and its overall impact on EU law have not only become a high priority for the EU legal research, but also needs the promotion of synergies between research and teaching to elaborate innovative approaches and best practices in teaching the TTIP as a key topic in EU legal studies. Also, the analysis urges the establishment of a mutual dialogue between the academia and policymakers and stakeholders to try to overcome the existing ambiguities.
Two factors are essential in order to react properly to these challenges:
- A large partnership among scholars, researchers and policymakers, with strong analytical, teaching and problem-solving skills to (a) improve the general understanding of the legal implications that lie behind the TTIP model, (b) promote teaching activities and resources on the topic, and (c) monitor the talks and propose policy tools and recommendations.
- An extended time-scale for developing both an in-depth analysis of the legal solutions arising out from the talks and a thorough scrutiny of their implications in the medium and long term.
Based on a consortium of 3 renowned European university centres, namely the International Research Centre on European Law of the University of Bologna (C.I.R.D.E.), the Centre of European Law of the King’s College London (CEL) and the Institut de l’Ouest Droit et Europe of the University of Rennes 1 (IODE), where leading EU-law scholars work together with talented academic in their early stages of career, the LAwTTIP Network is particularly fit to engage a 3-years large-scale assessment of the TTIP model.
First, the 3 partners have already developed relevant forms of cooperation in the realm of EU law. The Network will benefit thus from this pre-existing cooperation, strengthening the partnership between the academics involved.
Second, all partners have a fine and long tradition of research and teaching in EU law and a strong reputation of excellence for their training activities and programmes of public events. This will allow to translate scientific and academic high-quality research in creative teaching methods and materials to improve the quality of education at university level. Particular attention will be paid to the training of junior fellows and PhD candidates: a strong training platform composed by workshops, seminars, and a summer school will be set up to give young scholars the possibility of completing their teaching and research skills. Third, the existing contacts with EU/Member State policymakers and stakeholders will ensure the development of a forum where research results, experiences, good practices, legal and policy tools and proposals on the ‘TTIP model’ may be effectively disseminated and debated with all the relevant actors.
The dialogue with EU citizens will be ensured by public events and a constant effort to make communicable the research activities’ results to the general public (also via the LAwTTIP website platform, social networks and the Erasmus+ e-tools), while scientific publications (edited volumes, journal articles, working papers), drawing together the Project’s results, will stimulate the academic debate on the topic. The evaluation of the Project’s progress in light of its objectives will be ensured by 5 organizational meetings and a Steering Committee, composed by a member of each partner and 3 external experts, which will undertake an annual review of the activities.